- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
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- 33 Annotation Index
syn·ton·ic (sĭn-tŏn'ĭk) adj.Psychology. Characterized by a high degree of emotional responsiveness to the environment. Electricity. Of or relating to two oscillating circuits having the same resonant frequency. [From Greek suntonos, high-strung, intense, attuned, from sunteinein, to draw tight : sun-, syn- + teinein, to stretch.]
a homeless boy who has been abandoned and roams the streets. [wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn]
The 1892 Columbian Exposition half dollar was the first commemorative coin authorized by Congress. 
"ten yeeuhz ago" Places this action in or around 1903.
Casually, a messenger; more formally, a permanent official Papal representative at a foreign court.
"at evening quarters the guns are cast" ... A Sailor's Story
Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), one of the 19th Century science fiction writers whom Pynchon is both emulating and parodying in ATD. Wikipedia entry.
French: play of wit. "H. G. Wells speculative jeu d'esprit" refers specifically to his work The Time Machine.
on the subject
On the subject of time machines.
An imprest system is a system using loans as control against fraud and theft. The most common imprest system known is the petty cash system.Wikipedia. Interesting that the Chums' petty cash system goes under the rubric National, not International?
Lollipop is vulgar slang for an underage girl. There is at least one 'pornographic' magazine called Lollipops featuring supposedly underage girls.
2) A city district notorious for vice and graft. [After 'the Tenderloin', an area of New York City (from the easy income it once offered corrupt policeman) From the American Heritage Dictionary.
Cf Alan Parker's 1976 movie "Bugsy Malone". IMDb
- Though Wikipedia prefers the spelling opoponax, the OED suggests Pynchon's.
A brass instrument with the voice of a cornet but using a slide instead of valves. Very, very rare.
An eight-stringed instrument shaped like a mandolin but tuned the same as a viola. It is originally an Irish instrument.
"tin pan" piano
A reference to New York's Tin Pan Alley. Probably, the tag means to indicate that the piano was out of tune or sounded 'cacophonous'. Wikipedia entry
According to the OED, a "nymph of the Muslim Paradise. Hence applied allusively to a voluptuously beautiful woman." According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "houris" is the plural of 'houri', as defined above.
Over 21yo, if he's aged.
2. a spangle used to ornament a dress or costume. [from Old French,diminutive of paille,straw]. American Heritage Dictionary.
of questionable taste or morality. From Old French, losche= squint-eyed, ultimately from Latin, luscus = blind in one eye. Source: American Heritage Dictionary.
The OED suggests that the spelling here was always more popular than jass, as used on p. 370. It makes sense that a musician like "Dope" Breedlove might use a less conventional spelling, as he would be familiar with the term before common usage had regularized its spelling. By contrast, within the "dime novel" idiom of the Chums of Chance narration (dime novelists not necessarily being, especially in this days, the swingin'-est of cats), while jazz still registers as a slang term, its spelling has already been regularized.
Dey high-hats us uptown
They scorn or snub us.
Dey low-balls us downtown
They underestimate us.
Mrs. Grundy, proverbial looker-askance at any improper activity. "[A]n extremely conventional or priggish person" after a character alluded to in the play Speed The Plough, by Thomas Morton (1764-1838), British playwright. Source: American Heritage Dictionary.
"Yen"? And play/contrast with yang?
I.e., Angel of Grace
Gophiz... Hudson Dustuhs
Gophers, Hudson Dusters.
J. Pierpont Morgan.
Upright structural member, here part of the El trestle.
Actually, on p. 154 we learn that when these structures were erected, they were intentionally antiqued, "deliberately burned, attempts being made to blacken the stylized wreckage in aesthetic and interesting ways," a description that applies also to Pynchon's historical fiction with its antiquated language and its generally favorable view of all things black. Though, of course it's been a decade since the shrine was erected, and some actual time-corrosion may have occurred.
seeming to date from some ancient catastrophe, far older than the city.
When, what is that catastrophe in ATD, pages 149-170?
I AM THE WAY INTO THE DOLEFUL CITY
Phrase first appears on p. 154, where it is inscribed over the shrine that the citizens erect to the Destroyer. It is a quote from Canto III of Dante's Il Inferno, where it is emblazoned over the gates to Hell.
I.e., ozone or O3, which is a molecule composed of three bonded oxygen molecules. Wikipedia.
Solenoid: a coil of wire hollow in the center. To make a relay, stick an iron rod partway into the middle. Turn the current on, and the magnetic field pulls the iron in. Attach the rod to the bolt on the gate and you can unlock it by pushing a button.
homage to Zoot Sims, jazzman?
Most often combined with Suit, as in Zoot suit - Wikipedia. Often zoot suiters wear a felt hat with a long feather (called a tapa or ... By their dress, Zoot suiters expressed defiance, at a time when fabric was ... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoot_suit There is a contemporary "zootsuit" radio station devoted to old radio shows. Historically, much later than the period of ATD here, there were riots in Los Angeles called the Zoot Suit riots.
Even tough-guy Plug fears time machine. Pynchon's perspective on artificial light, "already harsh illumination".
Early electrical generator with permanent magnet instead of stator winding.
A distinctive fine watch of French design, usually with open circles ('moons') near the ends of the hands. (See also p.140) Wikipedia entry
Insertion of thin material to make two parts line up. Think of the matchbook under the table leg.
(Why not no-revenue?)because revenue was spent---very cheaply: in only "the simplest upkeep."
Bodywork. Panels concealing frame, wiring, etc.
undog this hatch
Nautical: disengage whatever is holding the door shut.
(Blind, not humble.)
Cf drugs. Cf. sympathetic vibrations, a physical kind of empathy.
Riding two to a horse.
arrays of metallic points
shockwaves of the Creation
Anachronistic Big Bang theory?
I must say that in the Big Bang theory, stars were first created out of the bang; here the metaphor seems to accept that the stars already exist and "are blown through by the shockwaves of the Creation", capitalized, a common Pynchon touch, as in a Biblical allusion.
(It didn't on p403.)
Airplanes? Or Missiles/rockets? 'A screaming comes across the sky'....
Cf GR on Passchendaele.
Candle = 2)Abbr. c)Pysics a)an obsolete unit of luminous intensity, originally defined in terms of a wax candle,From American Heritage Dictionary. Brow = 3)The projecting upper edge of a steep place, as 'the brow of a hill'. Also, of course, the eyebrow, the forehead. Same source.
Probably too tenuous to lead anywhere: Asa Candler's family became implausibly rich through ownership of Coca-Cola stock; Candlers and their Woodruff connections gave implausible sums to Emory University in Atlanta. See Candlebrow and Smegmo entries on the next couple of pages.
Note: "Dr. Vormance was on sabbatical from Candlebrow University..." p.130
'dome' is slang for the human brain, of course. [Amer Heritage] and seems to mean, in humorous context, two-headed or double-brained thinkers...(more doubling motif--as joke?)
river called the Ball in Hand
Another cricket allusion? Dried river beds are often used as a playground for cricket, says wikipedia, where this also comes: When a batsman attempts a dangerous run, he could be run out by any of the fielders who just need to hold the ball in hand [cannot underline or embolden] and land their feet on the stone at the bowlers end (hence run out by 'conduction', as opposed to hitting the stumps at the bowlers end).
(Any connection with Skip, the ball lightning? p.73/74.)
The Ball In Hand see page 409, where it seems to be Alonzo's local tavern.
counterfeit of the Timeless
Thematic. Whole sentence seems the sharpest indictment of 'the Academy' as exemplified by Candlebrow U.
Note the contrast with "fateful discovery" on p.398.
Latin for "bottom of the sky." In Astrology, it is the point in space where the ecliptic crosses the meridian in the north, exactly opposite the Midheaven. Wikipedia entry
made-up founder whose scandalous fortune underlay Candlebrow U?
a gross dale?
Smegma is a secretion of mammalian genitals Wikipedia.
1887 saw the introduction of the Margarine Act in Great Britain, which required margarine to be labeled as such. This was in response to the adulteration of butter by oleomargarine (made from animal fats).
Candlebow + margarine reminds me of Camille Paglia on Renee Zellwegger as "margarine-browed" (which I don't really understand).
four thousand years
Refers to the time believed to have elapsed since Abraham and the foundation of Judaism Wikipedia. Under kosher laws Jews are not allowed to mix milk and meat products in the same meal. The rabbi's proclamation about having waited 4000 years refers to the arrival of Smegmo as a non-milk substitute for butter that can be eaten with meat dishes.
"you kept hearing different stories about exactly what was in it"
Refers to wide range of urban legend-like attributions as to the origins and/or makeup of smegma that exist especially among children.
There's a resonance with Coca-Cola, too: exaggerated secrecy about the formula, fanatical market development, endowment of a university (Emory in the case of the Woodruff and Candler fortunes).
First International Conference on Time-Travel
MIT students held a Time Traveler Convention on May 7, 2005. The organizers did only modest publicity, claiming that the event would be reported and people in the future would read about it and decide to attend. One of the principals pointed out that only one such convention would ever need to take place. Vanderjuice's reasoning is almost a mirror image of that.
Invented word? "Vomiting flame." Not invented: Flammivomous. (definition) by Webster 1913 (print), Tue Dec 21 1999 at 23:41:04. Flam*miv"o*mous (?), a. [L. flammivomus; flamma flame + vomere to vomit.] ...
1925 or thereabouts
Lindsay's unfamiliarity with the term "nooky," here used to refer to attractive women and not to a sex act, its most common present day usage, will likely continue until it becomes an accepted part of the English language, which occurred, according to the OED, with its first substantiative written usage in 1928. The OED, by the way, prefers the spelling nookie.
(Has he been absent?)
(Why at night, particularly? Email parody?) Seems many telegraphic messages were delivered at night, perhaps because they could be picked up during the daytime and many came after evening began.
"Goes with everything"
Cf Al Capp's Shmoos?
in the way that certain odors can instantly return us to earlier years
Recalls Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu in which the taste and smell of a madeleine cookie summons a collection of childhood memories.
"There's a seminar on that tomorrow ... Or do I mean day before yesterday?"
Are all the folks at Candlebrow time travellers? Unlikely. This remark seems to be a typical collegiate witticism about classes. Seems about everyone can STUDY time travelling at Candlebrow.
Probably a Hall/Auditorium/Room in Candlebrow U. named after American author Jack Finney, who wrote a famous time travel novel, Time & Again. See wikipedia for dates.
flowering, blooming.From florescense. Amer Heritage Dictionary
From illustrations of a kind of woman first made by Charles Dana Gibson. Besides certain physical features--see wikipedia---such women were thought to be 'independent', often college girls, although not suffragettes.
"Why you insufferable little --"
This line, paired with St. Cosmo's observation at the end of the following paragraph: "And might I add, Mr. Noseworth, that these constant attempts to strangle Suckling do our public image little good," seem a fairly direct reference to a well-worn trope from the Simpsons, in which the splenetic Homer, as played here by Noseworth, expresses his no-longer-controllable frustration with Bart, here the increasingly smartalecky Suckling. Pynchon, as has been widely reported, has appeared on The Simpsons a couple times.
More than even "Vineland," it seems, this book is fraught with pop culture/low comedy asides.
Typo, unless he means Orson.
Interesting to find one of Isaac Asimov's time travel machines on the pile of "picked-over hulks of failed time machines." Of course, it would have to have been deposited there from some time in the future.
to transecular adj "that is made through the centuries" (Portuguese) Btchakir 16:48, 19 December 2006 (PST)
Tempo + morph = Time change
Star Trek allusion? A kind of mineralized rubber.
Synthetic ivory, used to make billiard balls.
An alloy of gold and silver, presumably not the same as argentaurum.
The very hard heavy wood of any of several tropical American guaiacum trees. In Latin, literally "wood of life."
The Ball in Hand
Double (if not more) entendre: 1. Masturbation. 2. A term used in pocket billiards (especially 9-ball) when a player has scratched (sunk the cue ball) and the player who follows is allowed to place the cue ball wherever he/she wants.
Paradoxical, I think.
auto = Self,same. Morph = to change
A fascinating interpretation of history in which Time is a single cycle and once it has reached its conclusion begins anew, and each repetition of the cycle is utterly identical to the first. Perhaps originating in The New Science by Giambattista Vico, though made most famous by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who used it as the basis for his moral philosophy. Cf. Nietzsche, The Will to Power.
seems obviously related to revenant, a ghost a returner from the dead ???
River of Time
cf "the invisible river, the flow of Time", p.252
possible reference to the Symme's Hole which leads into the hollow earth, i. e. a street on the extreme fringe ???
St. Louis Fair
Also "Pygmy boyfriends escaped from the St. Louis Fair" - in the book Ota Benga, about a pygmy who appeared in the St. Louis Fair, there is a reference to pygmies escaping from their exhibit and disappearing into neighborhoods of St. Louis, never to be found
Traditional Chinese gambling game; also a card game .
Finding of Unusual Circumstances Questionaire
Also, presumably, known as the "F.U.C.Q." or "fuck-you," for short.
Practitioners of Zen Buddhism.
Caged Women of Yokohama
"Does a dog possess the Buddha-nature?" [...] "Yes, obviously"
According to the Zen parable the answer to the question is "Mu", which is both "No" and the sound of a dog's bark, thus neither simply yes nor no. See the explanantion given by the Learned English Dog in Mason & Dixon (Ch. 3, p. 22).
apricot and aquamarine
Bohr... Mach... Einstein... Spengler... Wells... McTaggart
All of these people did work involving either speculation about time (Wells) or other subjects that reached their highest expression in Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which had implications regarding the nature of time and spacetime Wikipedia. Pynchon refers to the fact that this work was underway and 'in the air' at the time of the novel.
Perhaps a reference to the 1988 movie of the same name. At the time of the F.I.C.O.T.T. (1895 at the earliest), Einstein would have already published "The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields." Ironically, Einstein's special theory of relativity would later essentially invalidate theories of luminiferous aether.
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), in his autobiographical Confessions, is credited with reconceptualizing the notion of time in Christian terms. Throyle, on p.143, summarizes what he terms "Christian time," as a "linear way of regarding time, a simple straight line from past, through present, into the future." See also Eschatology.
fatal steamed pudding
Presumably the subject of the "Christmas-pudding controversy" mentioned on p. 406. In the context of Prof. Taggart's disbelief in time and the Augustinian's presumed belief that time moves inevitably toward Christ's return, a Christmas pudding (which, one should mention, is prepared with suet or similar animal fat, though presumably Smegmo can be substituted) is a symbol, insofar as it invokes the birth of Christ, of a pivotal moment in the proper sequence of Augustinian time. The pudding, which context here suggests the neo-Augustinian dropped on the McTaggartite, at once symbolizes the Fall of Man, as well as the McTaggartite's inevitable descent into Hell. The whole arrangement is problematized, however, by the comments of the County Coroner, who describes the outcome of the event dependent on "wagering," chance being irreconcilable with Augustinian time.
Old Stearinery Bell Tower
Eg clocktower assassins?
one who practices homeopathy ???
"the lycopodium type"... Fear
lycopodium is a common homeopathic remedy for many disorders. Homeopathy being the introduction into the body, in small quantities, of a possibly toxic or irritating agent that ends up stimulating the body to heal itself ???
other Promise... resurrected... two millennia
invented by Thomas Edison in 1878
outskirts, outlying areas; also (OED) "meaner streets about some main thoroughfare; a mean, squalid or disreputable street or quarter."
This whole section is a progress into the outlying areas, the fringes (Cf. Pynchon's story Low-lands, which takes place at a town dump)
woodwork, doors, molding, wainscotting, etc, but cheap, prefabricated, not custom-fabricted on site.
(Is the ligatured-ae appropriate here?). Yes, it is the plural; each streetlight has its own penumbra.
(So signs of occupancy are faked?)
(Clear sign of vacancy.)
(Meatman is cyborg?)
Master race; ace of spades; Mr Earl?
Relating to speech that serves to establish social relationships rather than to inform.
(Capitalism has failed but failure still can't be mentioned.)
Taking of refuge in a planet's past was the plot of a Captain Kirk-era Star Trek episode; the unintentionally-transported Kirk is taken to be a religious dissenter; fortunately his judge is one of the "refugees".
certain of your great dynamos
Fraternity of the Venturesome
Mistranslated 'Chums of Chance'.
Suggests "he" could be a holographic image. Time traveling holograms were one feature of the "Temporal Cold War" subplot of Star Trek: Enterprise; one such manifestation (complete with "nzzt's") is set in a huge dynamo station in a Nazi-occupied New York. This is two possible Star Trek allusions in a single page.
Pynchon seems to explain Chums backstory.
Squanto and the Pilgrims
Ironic (although Chick means it sincerley) since in this case the Chums of C are "Squanto" and their strange interlocutors from another dimension are the pilgrims. Chick innocently suggests that the strangers from the future just want help ( as , like the pilgrims, they have just arrived and are low on supplies, so to speak). It is implied that just as the Indian's helping the pilgrims was re-payed with disease, genocide and war, the payback the Chums reap for helping these visitors from another dimension may not be what they expect.
"It's our innocence...."
Speculation about the motives of people who come from the future claiming to need something from the past. It is a common fallacy in all ages to think back to the past as a 'golden age' and an age of 'innocence'. Lindsay elaborates further down the page: "[I]magine them... so fallen, so corrupted, that we — even we — seem to them pure as lambs. And their own time so terrible that it's sent them desparately back...." Think also of the kind of 'golden age' rhetoric often employed by certain politicians.
"He is not what he says he is."
Pynchon denies Chums backstory/explanation.
In addition, his story would be plausible--almost too plausible--in terms of the thermodynamic theories of the day, i.e. the Heat Death of the Universe (about which Pynchon has written before: see V. and Entropy).
Presumably individuals in the company of Mr. Ace and Alonzo Meatman, whose intentions toward the Chums of Chance are apparently sinister and for their own benefit. They appear to travel back through the stream of time without any kind of permission to execute their plans, thus making them trespassers (or parasites).
The idea of trespass could be thought of in another way too. Miles mentions Mr. Ace knowing him as a 'peeper' who observes the trespassers as they come to his time. We could think of the 'trespassers' as anyone in any time who looks back at a point in history. As such, they are actually 'peepers'. That these seem to have found a way not just to peep but actually to participate makes them more than peepers, in fact, it is this that constitutes their 'trespass'.
Pynchon seems to be playing with how we view history and the past, a theme common to all his work. The Chums, whose existence is, to an extent, fictional even within the work of fiction, are a nexus meant to control boundaries between points in time (e.g. the future and the present, or its past). Historians and other future observers want to use the past for their own purposes. If they become visible to the people in that past, they will appear as 'trespassers' and violators. As Miles says, they do "not have our best interests in mind".
We ourselves (readers and perhaps even more, Wiki authors) are also trespassers from the standpoint of the Chums. We read about them in the novel, which takes us to the past, to their present, and inserts us in a way that is invisible to them. We then write up entries and think thoughts about what they do. We are in their world in some way that to them is utterly mysterious and sinister because, again, we have own agendas in mind and not theirs.
With a capital T.
Cf Crying of Lot 49.
An abnormal and usually degenerative state of the nervous system or nerves.
(So our five gossiped to others?)
came to recall
Cf PK Dick.
red and indigo
Sousa march. "El Capitán" was played by a military band on the deck of Admiral Dewey's battleship as he steamed into the Bay of Manila in 1898, to "liberate" the Philippines from Spain and also, not coincidentally, achieve access for U.S. capital and goods to East Asian markets once the Philippines became a colony. Thus the references to the "intricacies of greed as then being practiced by global capitalism" a few sentences later on p. 419 is hardly out of place for TRP, particularly when mixed with comments on how patriotic bromides and marching tunes go together. The harmonicas and the comment that improvisation is definitely NOT welcome in marching band arrangements, of course, provide Pynchon's own inimitable caustic/satiric touch; cf. the kazoos in GR. On "El Capitán": see Hess, Carol A. “John Philip Sousa’s ‘El Capitan’: Political Appropriation and the Spanish-American War.” American Music (Spring 1998).
Style of American Romanesque architecture from 1880s-1890s, named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, notable for use of brown stone, rounded corners, arches and cylindrical turrets. Wikipedia Entry.
Context is suggestive of music theory, types of scales and keys of tonal music. However, Modal Realism is the view, notably propounded by David Lewis, that possible worlds are as real as the actual world. Possible worlds exist; the actual world is merely one among an infinite set of logically possible worlds, some nearer to the actual world and some more remote. 
Piece of military or bureaucratic paperwork; context suggests "request for transfer".
Like "Bing" Crosby, a crooner.
Current military and collegiate slang for "bed"--an anachronism.
difficult vocal feat
An African-American entertainment having a cake as prize for the most accomplished steps and figures in walking; also, a stage dance developed from walking steps and figures typically involving a high prance with backward tilt. From this, slang for a one-sided contest or an easy task.
Note played on harmonica by "drawing" air through reed by sucking in rather than blowing out (insert crude sex joke here).
Masochistic love of oppressors.
Burden of resistance.
A large deciduous tree, reaching 30-40 m tall. They resemble large shrubs, due to their tall, slender appearance. They grow tall very quickly and usually die within 15 years of first planting.
A harmonica that plays all notes in an octave rather than a scale in a certain key. Examples.
Pitch Integrity Guard
Interessen-Gemeinschaft Mundharfwerke (Harmonica-works Association of Common Interests). "Mundharf" is Swabian German for "Harmonica".
Cf. Slothrop's desk.
Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880), French composer of operettas.Wikipedia Entry.
into the Latrine
Cf. Slothrop's hallucination.
vapor bearing... minerals
Aide-de-camp, administrative assistant to a commanding officer.
None of them...
Cf butterfly dreaming it's monk?
"At a Georgia Camp Meeting"
route out of the past
The nostalgia trap.
They enjoyed the jazzy parts of the routine.
(Was unconscious, now conscious?)
dropped from altitudes
(Cf pudding above)
"After the Ball"
lyric from a huge pop music hit of the time: AFTER THE BALL A little maiden climbed an old man’s knees— Begged for a story: "Do uncle, please! Why are you single, why live alone? Have you no babies, have you no home?" "I had a sweetheart, years, years ago, Where she is now, pet, you will soon know; List to the story, I’ll tell it all: I believed her faithless after the ball.“ ”Bright lights were flashing in the grand ballroom, Softly the music playing sweet tunes. There came my sweetheart, my love, my own, ‘I wish some water; leave me alone.’ When I returned, dear, there stood a man Kissing my sweetheart as lovers can. Down fell the glass, pet, broken, that’s all— Just as my heart was after the ball.“ ”Long years have passed, child, I have never wed, True to my lost love though she is dead. She tried to tell me, tried to explain— I would not listen, pleadings were vain. One day a letter came from that man; He was her brother, the letter ran. That’s why I’m lonely, no home at all— I broke her heart, pet, after the ball."
Chorus: After the ball is over, after the break of morn, After the dancers' leaving, after the stars are gone, Many a heart is aching, if you could read them all— Source: Many the hopes that have vanished after the ball.
Abbrevation for Temporary Duty? weblink
Q. Zane Toadflax
(Sounds like Douglas Adams?). Toadflax is the name of an invasive plant species
Pure speculation, this one: Hypops seems to be used as a short plural for hypopneoa, a medical condition described as 'shallow breathing'. "Ammotic" is used as an alternative term for 'amniotic', e.g. as "ammotic fluid". So Roswell's Hypopsammotic contraption would be a kind of protective cover which however causes shortbreathedness. So perhaps a sort of diving- or space-suit is implied? This one would be for sand-travel, of course.
beating their prices
Contradicts p. 425 "no further expenditure".
- P. 425 merely says that "no further expenditure for that purpose [i.e. for Hypops rigs] will be approved." Presumably, the Chums have some additional discretionary fund from which to draw cash for emergency purchases such as these.
temporarily lapsing into English
What language is Miles--the Chums---usually speaking?
Lindsay = pig. "When (or until) pigs fly" = never.
Yes, Darby is now Legal Counsel.
ill-starred Bell Tower
Cf. Renata's tarot reading on p. 253, the last card of which is The Tower.
Cf. The Bell-Tower by Herman Melville, a famous story with an "ill-starred bell tower" for sure. "Glancing backwards, they saw the groined belfry crashed sideways in.", a line from it which echos the picture used for the pynchonwiki home page.
The Light Over the Ranges
Against the Day
Rue du Départ